14 July 2009, Latest news
Shown on Al Jazeera English on 11 July 2009 to coincide with the G8 in Italy.
09 July 2009, Latest news
Stop the Wall Campaign, a War on Want partner organisation, is releasing a report documenting the crackdown on Palestinian resistance to the Separation Wall, which was declared illegal five years ago in a landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
To mark the fifth anniversary of the ICJ decision, and to highlight the systematic violation of the rights of Palestinian communities opposing the construction of the Separation Wall, Stop the Wall Campaign is launching a new report, Repression Allowed, Resistance Denied - Israel's suppression of the popular movement against the Apartheid Wall.
It is five years since the ICJ ruled the continuing construction of the Wall in the West Bank to be illegal and called on it to be dismantled. However, the Wall continues to be built, cutting Palestinians off from their land and dividing villages into isolated enclaves. Protests by the communities affected by the Wall are met with tear gas and sometimes live ammunition by the Israeli forces, as witnessed by War on Want staff at a recent demonstration in Bi'lin, a village threatened by house demolitions and land confiscation because of the Wall.
Stop the Wall's report, co-authored with Addameer Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, details the history of violence and repression against grassroots popular committees, which were mobilised by Stop the Wall Campaign to peacefully resist the house demolitions and land confiscations associated with the Wall's construction. The struggle against the Wall has become a priority for Palestinians, with popular committees -- local community groups formed to represent the interests of their threatened villages -- holding weekly protests in areas most affected by the Wall, and in some cases dismantling parts of the Wall and blocking bulldozers from entering their land.
Mobilisation against the Wall has grown over the years, with many youth involved as key organisers of peaceful demonstrations. At the same time, innocent civilians joining the protests have been fired at with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. According to Stop the Wall, there have been 16 people killed, half of them under the age of 18, in villages protesting against the Wall since 2004. In June this year, Yousef Sadeq Dar Srour, a 35-year-old man with a wife and three children, was shot and killed in Ni'lin whilst trying to remove an injured 16-year-old boy from the front lines of one of the village's weekly protests. He was the fifth person to be killed during demonstrations in the village. Other villagers in the West Bank have also been killed during protests against the Israeli government's assault on Gaza in January 2009.
Despite these tragedies, the popular committees remain steadfast in opposing the Wall and the house demolitions and land confiscations that result from its construction. Jamal Juma, Coordinator of Stop the Wall Campaign, has emphasised the importance of international solidarity against the Wall: "We are calling on human rights defenders all over the world to find effective ways of supporting such resistance and to engage in boycotts, divestments and sanctions to pressure Israel to stop the Wall."
War on Want supports these courageous efforts and the vital campaign work of Stop the Wall to raise awareness of the continuing injustices faced by these Palestinian communities, five years after the Separation Wall was declared illegal.
07 July 2009, Press releases
NEWS HOOK: Wednesday 8 July-Friday 10 July 2009 G8 group of the world's richest nations holds summit
Call to dump free market policies
The G8 group of the world's richest nations is a dinosaur which should be put out of its misery, the British anti-poverty War on Want says today.
It says the group should be scrapped in favour of a democratic alternative based on people's needs, not corporate greed.
The call is signalled as UK prime minister Gordon Brown and the other G8 leaders prepare to start their three-day summit in the Italian earthquake-hit city of L'Aquila tomorrow (Wednesday).
War on Want cites German chancellor Angela Merkel's comment that "the G8 format is no longer adequate".
But the charity says Merkel's proposal to extend the G8 to the G20, including the largest developing countries, ignores the fact that both groups have championed the free market policies which caused the world economic crisis.
John Hilary, executive director at the anti-poverty charity War on Want, said: "It is time to put the G8 dinosaur out of its misery and to recognise that even the G20 is already past its sell-by date. Both the G8 and G20 continue to promote the free market policies which are increasing global poverty. We need a new body with a radical new plan for the world's economy, drawn up and backed by the full membership of the United Nations."
War on Want points to wide consensus that the present crisis is the result of structural imbalances caused by three decades of deregulated free-market capitalism. It highlights the need for the world economic system to undergo a major transformation.
But, the charity says, the G20 used the London summit in April to resurrect the failed policies and institutions of the free market era.
The London summit gave even more power to three institutions which, the charity claims, have policed the neoliberal world order - the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.
War on Want cites the findings of an expert commission, chaired by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, which has devised a series of radical recommendations for global economic reform.
Proposals to the UN summit on the financial crisis in June included a global economic coordination council within the UN, which, War on Want claims, would bring a more just and sustainable form of global economic coordination than now practised by the WTO, IMF and World Bank.
According to the charity, the UN process offers a democratic alternative that would enable those least responsible for the crisis to make fair and effective decisions on the future of the world economy.
CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728
06 July 2009, Latest news
On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the Separation Wall being built by Israel on Palestinian land was illegal. The ICJ ruled that Israel must cease construction of the Wall, dismantle the sections built thus far and make reparations to Palestinians for the damage caused. Yet five years on from the ICJ ruling Israel continues to build the Wall in defiance of international law and global outrage.Add Comment
06 July 2009, Comment is Free
Institutions such as the G8 and G20 will only ever serve the interests of the few. We need a forum of the manyAdd Comment
06 July 2009, Latest news
War on Want partner Codemuh - a Honduran women's collective - has condemned the actions of the Honduran army after it forcibly removed the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya from power.Add Comment
02 July 2009, Previous events
Big thanks to all of you Glasto revellers who stopped by our stall in the Green Futures Field (or who were accosted by our trolley) and signed our petition to protect overseas workers from exploitation by UK supermarkets. It was great to chat to so many of you about sweatshop labour, supermarkets, the fast-fashion industry and what we can do about it! Thanks to the glorious sunshine, we were able to collect hundreds of signatures and get into the festival vibe.
02 July 2009, Press releases
NEWS HOOK: Britain's largest retailer Tesco holds its annual meeting in Glasgow
Campaign targets £3bn profits retailer's AGM
Britain's largest retailer Tesco today comes under fire over 7p an hour garment workers in Bangladesh as shareholders prepare to hail the company's record £3 billion profits at its annual meeting.
The charity War on Want cited research which reveals employees toiling up to 80 hours a week making Tesco clothes in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka for as little as 1663 taka (£14) a month.
Employees calculate a worker needs £44.82 (5333 taka) a month to give their family nutritious food, clean water, shelter, clothes, education, health care and transport.
In the three Tesco factories researched, average workers' pay, £20 (2280 taka) a month, is less than half a living wage.
Most employees live in small, crowded shacks, many of which lack plumbing and adequate washing facilities.
Runa, who produces Tesco clothes, is one of many young women forced by poverty to leave her rural home to earn money to send back to her family.
She said: "My pay is so meagre that I cannot afford to keep my child with me. I have sent my five-month old baby to the village to be cared for by my mother."
Ifat, who also toils in a Tesco factory, said: "I can't feed my children three meals a day."
Though compulsory overtime is illegal in Bangladesh, employees said they were made to toil extra hours, often unpaid.
Workers complained that in the fast fashion rush to produce the latest styles, many of them suffer verbal and physical abuse as they struggle to meet unrealistic targets
War on Want contrasts Tesco's claim to respect the rights of its garment suppliers to join and form trade unions with the charity's study which revealed that none of the Dhaka factories investigated was unionised.
War on Want adds that Tesco has signed up to a code of conduct under the Ethical Trading Initiative which commits the retailer to pay garment workers living wages, support freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to ban harsh treatment and excessive working hours.
Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "While Tesco has smashed all records with more than £3 billion profits, it is also breaking promises to ensure a living wage and decent conditions for its garment workers. Tesco cannot be trusted to keep its word. The British government must act to stop this abuse."
CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728
NOTE TO EDITORS: Tesco's annual meeting will take place at 10.30 am on Friday (3 July) in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Exhibition Way, Finnieston, Glasgow G3 8YW.
30 June 2009, Latest news
War on Want is currently in Palestine, visiting our grassroots partners and examining the situation on the ground.
The aim of the trip is to support and express solidarity with our partners - and to strengthen the links between the frontline struggle for justice in Palestine and our campaigns in the UK.
Our team of John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, Gemma Houldey our Conflict Zones International Programmes Officer and Yasmin Khan our Senior Campaigner on Global Justice will be sending regular updates via Twitter from Palestine.
|1 July 2009|
5:38pm (local time)
Now visiting our partners in alternative information centre in beit sahour and a heated debate on regional geo-politics!
Just walked into a house fire bombed by settlers recently coz internationals visited. Can still smell the smoke, childrens toys on the floor
400 settlers in hebron, 20,000 soldiers protecting them. Just seen soldier pull out a rifle & aim it at palestinians kids. Atmosphere tense
Cannot believe what we r seeing. ground littered with rubbish, glass, stones & bottles of urine thrown at palestinians by settlers
Walking thru old city of hebron. Isreali settlers have come into the city and set up israeli administration here & terrorised the population
Just getting info 4 boycotting israeli goods in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] in a local shop. barcodes which start with 729 r israeli, even jerico water bottles!
Now with popular committee which resists Wall in Bethlehem. Members discussing ways to respond to 9 house demolition orders issued yesterday
|30 June 2009|
11:28pm (local time)
Met Sawt el Amel 2day, amazing org workin on labour rights of Palestinians in Israel. Currently battling israeli corporations 4 gaza workers
Palestinians in Israel R not even 2nd class citizens but forgotten people, ignored by Pal Authority & classed as absentees on their own land
Just met the arab association for human rights working on palestinians rights in israel. Shocking evidence about how racism is entrenched in the israeli
just past sign 4 Jenin yet we r not in West Bank but Israel where we share a bus with young soldiers carrying rifles & there is little warmth or welcome
Jolted awake by check point. Resentment at ritual humiliation for palestinians exacerbated by unbeliveably loud shouting by IDF [Israel Defense Force] female soldier
|29 June 2009|
12:38am (local time)
An activist took us 2 the highest point in Ramallah 2nite where we could see Tel Aviv & the Med sea. Couldn't believe it was close, yet a different world
Just found out veolia involved in waste management from settlement farms in jordan valley. Another reason to step up the boycott campaign against them!
jordan valley most shocking part of trip so far. Palestinians live in plastic tents nxt 2 swanky israeli farms making produce 4 uk supermarkets. Sickening
Aargh! After months of efforts our attempts to get into gaza have failed at 11th hour. Gutted :( gaza prison impenetrable.
|27 June 2009|
11:30pm (local time)
Naomi klein speech on BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] was great. War on Want colleagues Yasmin & Gemma now taking on twitter duty for next week, hopefully from Gaza.
Now in ramallah to hear Naomi klein speak on israel boycott. Her support for BDS as Jewish Canadian is front page news here. Hall packed.
Checkpoint between nablus & ramallah closed. Huge tailbacks, on day int'l media announces easing of restrictions. Dont believe all u read!
First a meeting with brilliant palestinian human rights group al haq. http://tinyurl.com/r8doc2 for current case v uk govt support 4 israel.
Going to conference on reunifying the left in palestine. Normal politics has been squeezed out by fatah-hamas break & israeli occupation.
|26 June 2009|
2:34pm (local time)
Now back in bi'lin village. Popular committee here has kept up wall demos each friday for 5 yrs, despite many casualties. So inspiring.
Calming down now. Got big mouthful of tear gas thru not paying attention. Focusing too much on photos and tweets!
Israelis now firing tear gas down at us. Palertinian kids respond with stones from home-made slings. David v goliath again.
Now at start of demo in bilin. Good mix of local villagers and int'l solidarity activists. Waiting for friday prayers to end b4 start.
Bedouin camels graze by wall. Bedouin themselves displaced by settler-only road to ben gurion airport. They are the very poorest here.
At apartheid wall in north Jerusalem. All houses within 100 metres of wall slated for demolition. Whole areas deserted. Eerily quiet.
Off today to weekly bi'lin demo with War on Want partner Stop the Wall. http://tinyurl.com/mtxe32 for must-see video of one of the demos.
Then stuck another hour in mass traffic jam at checkpoint on road back to ramallah. Perfect time to tweet but mobile had run out. Grrr...
Met last night with amazing women's cooperative in qalqilya, producing organic olive oil & honey under banner 'women can do everything'.
|25 June 2009|
3:01pm (local time)
Weird and totally new problem is settlers apparently breeding pigs which are sent onto palestinian land to destroy crops. Farmers furious.
Just heard from farmers' co-op in anin village. Major problem is water as israelis dig deep boreholes from behind the Wall & take all of it.
Coming into Jenin, site of 2003 massacre when israeli forces invaded the refugee camp. Many homes demolished. Over 70 killed
Just passed thru nablus on way to meet olive farmers in jenin. Nablus coffee good, sweet & big on cardamom. 4th checkpoint just gone....
|24 June 2009|
4:22pm (local time)
Just passed thru checkpoint on bus to ramallah. More watchtowers, army, guns, walls. Strange how insecure the 'security' makes you feel.
Bullet holes on many houses. 30 to 40 israeli soldiers drove thru aida camp in jeeps last friday, shooting indiscriminately. Why?
Check out refugeevoice.org for youth magazine from the camps of the west bank.
Aida refugee camp is home to almost 5k people. Size of just 2 football pitches. No health facilities at all.
Now in bethlehem at aida refugee camp. Over 7 million palestinians are now refugees or IDPs [Internally Displaced People]
|23 June 2009|
6:59pm (local time)
Jerusalem is Arab city of culture 2009. Israel tried to stop it from happening, but failed. Mabrouk! [Congratulations in Arabic]
Hearing again & again how int'l pressure is now having impact on israel. Both govt & business afraid of becoming next apartheid. BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] works!
Amazing to see scale of tramway being built to link jerusalem to jewish settlements in west bank. But no stops in palestinian areas of city.
|22 June 2009|
5:05pm (local time)
Just been told that US aid to israel has increased under obama, from $3bn to $3.5bn a year. So much for political pressure.
Ma'ale Adumim, one of the biggest settlements, is an unreal luxury island built on occupied land. Just shocking.
Now standing under the separation wall in east jerusalem. No pretence here that it's for security. Just to cut palestinian area in two.
Jerusalem municipality is meant to serve all areas in east city. But there's no sewerage for palestinian areas, only for jewish settlers.
On tour of israeli settlements around jerusalem. All barred to palestinians, guarded by private security and police.
30 June 2009, Latest news
You will have no doubt seen the recent media coverage of devastation in northern Sri Lanka following the massive offensive which left thousands dead. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes and communities.
We need your help today to help people rebuild their lives following this conflict.
25 June 2009, Press releases
NEWS HOOK: Friday, 26 June 2009 UN summit on world financial crisis ends in New York
UK helps block radical UN response to finance crisis
Millions of people in developing and developed countries face growing hardship after Britain with other rich European countries and the US blocked a radical UN response to the global financial crisis.
This warning comes today from the anti-poverty charity War on Want amid the UN summit on the crisis in New York.
The charity said the summit communiqué expected to be adopted in full tomorrow made significant references to fundamental issues such as debt, tax, aid conditionality and regulation.
It added that the document would also include the important recognition that poor countries are not to blame for a crisis which is hitting them hardest.
But the communiqué fails to agree action on the urgent progressive changes needed to transform the global economy. Instead it declares a commitment to more of the same policies that War on Want argues led to the crisis.
The document calls for the conclusion of the Doha round of trade negotiations - a move that War on Want says would deepen unemployment already soaring due to the crisis.
The charity says that conclusion of the Doha round threatens 7.5 million workers in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Tunisia and Uruguay, and millions more in other countries.
In a report to the conference, a UN commission led by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz cited the role trade has played as a cause of the crisis.
Among his proposals, Stiglitz argued the need for the world economic system to undergo a major transformation.
Yet the communiqué ignores the report's key proposal - a powerful global economic coordination council within the UN to bring more just and sustainable change than offered by the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation.
Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: "Wealthy countries like Britain have tried to block UN proposals for radical action on the global economy and used the summit to reaffirm support for a failed free market agenda. Millions of the world's poor people face worse hardship so long as rich nations dictate the rules of the global economy."
According to War on Want, before the conference the UK and other western governments tried to water down proposals with moves including threats of a boycott and publicly rubbishing the summit. The charity also pointed to signs that the UK had pressed developing countries to downgrade their own support for the conference. British premier Gordon Brown refused to send a cabinet minister to the event, but will attend the G8 summit in July, which War on Want brands outdated and elitist.
CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728Add Comment
22 June 2009, Latest news
The UN summit on the global economic crisis took place in New York at the end of June. Yet wealthy countries like Britain have tried to block UN proposals for radical action on the global economy and used the summit to reaffirm support for a failed free market agenda.Add Comment
22 June 2009, Press releases
UN summit, 24-26 June, New York
G8 summit, 8-10 July, Italy
Criticism of prime minister's commitment to a ‘new politics' as he shuns the UN but attends the G8
Campaigners today criticised Gordon Brown for refusing to send a cabinet minister to the United Nations summit on the economic crisis (1), but personally attending the 'outdated and elitist' G8 meeting in July.
War on Want, Jubilee Debt Campaign and the World Development Movement argue that as the vast majority of the world's countries are not invited to the G20 or G8 meetings, the UN summit is vital in enabling those least responsible for the crisis to make fair and effective decisions on the future of the world economy.
A commission, chaired by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, has already devised a series of radical recommendations for global economic reform. But the three organisations claim the UK and other western governments have been trying to water down proposals, including threats of boycott and public rubbishing of the summit. They say there are signs that Britain has been putting pressure on developing countries to downgrade their own support for the summit. And UN diplomats have revealed that UK government officials have been visiting developing country capitals in order to "persuade" them not to send high ranking officials to the UN conference.
Ruth Tanner, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: "Brown is determined to see off calls for regulation and continue on the path of free market fundamentalism at all costs. The UK government has made no secret of its efforts to rubbish the UN process. Alarmingly, it now looks like the government is also going out of its way to undermine the involvement of developing countries as well."
Nick Dearden, the Jubilee Debt Campaign director, said: "If we're ever going to see a more just economy, the prime minister and other western leaders need to start listening to the majority of the world. It's surely become apparent over the last 12 months that the rich don't have the answers. If we need to clean up politics in the UK, it's needed even more internationally, where the rule of the richest is still taken for granted."
Vicky Cann, campaigns officer at the World Development Movement, said: "The G8 is an outdated and elitist forum. The G20 is still unrepresentative and did not generate the radical ideas needed to make the global economy work for people and the planet. The focus on pushing free trade and rushing through the WTO Doha trade deal is a smokescreen behind which rich governments are hiding to keep big business happy. The World Bank, IMF and WTO need to be radically reformed and ideally replaced - not given more power over those countries which did nothing to create this crisis, but which are suffering most from it."
Campaigners are particularly anxious that the summit agrees that transformative, structural change to the global economy is needed, not simply tinkering at the edges. Particular support is given to professor Stiglitz's proposals for:
- a powerful global economic coordination council within the UN, which would bring a more just and sustainable form of global economic coordination than is currently offered by the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation.
- a debt restructuring mechanism, leading to cancellation of unpayable and illegitimate developing country debt.
- an end to the practice of forcing economic policies on developing countries, and radical reform of international financial institutions and the WTO.
- new arrangements for a global reserve currency to replace the dollar.
Campaigners are also calling for climate change to be tackled through the UN and fear the G8 will pre-empt an international discussion at Copenhagen in December.
Paul Collins, War on Want media officer (+44) (0)7983 550728
Nick Dearden, Jubilee Debt Campaign (+44) (0)7932 335464
Kate Blagojevic, World Development Movement media office (+44) (0)7711 875345
NOTE TO EDITORS
21 June 2009, Latest news
The much-heralded UN summit on the global economic crisis kicks off in New York tomorrow. The conference has been tasked with building consensus on how to deal with the crisis and its impact on international development.
With an additional 200 million people now facing extreme poverty as a result of the worldwide recession, the need could not be more urgent.
Yet the summit is fast turning into a showdown between developing and developed nations over an even more fundamental question.
Do we want to see key issues of global economic governance opened up to the full membership of the UN, or are we happy to leave such issues in the hands of self-appointed groups such as the G8 and G20? In a nutshell, who should run the world?
The first-ever meeting of the G8 was held back in 1975, and actually involved only six countries - France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and Britain.
Even with the subsequent addition of Canada and Russia, the group laid no claim to legitimacy.
The decision to turn to the G20 for its London summit in April was a realistic acknowledgement that no solutions would be meaningful without involving countries such as China, India, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. The American century is now behind us, and European hegemony a very distant memory.
But even this expanded grouping still leaves 172 countries without a seat at the table.
South Africa is the only African member of the G20, the Saudis are the lone representative of the Middle East and both Latin America and Asia are restricted to a tiny number of seats.
The issue at stake is nothing less than the future of the world economic order. It is no surprise that most countries want the debate opened up to the G192 - the full UN membership.
Yet developed country governments have poured scorn on the UN summit, and many have chosen to vote with their feet.
Gordon Brown hosted the G20 summit and is preparing to fly over to Italy for the G8 in July. Yet he has no intention of gracing the UN with his presence. Although the summit is supposed to be held "at the highest level" of world leaders, Britain is planning to snub the event by sending a junior minister.
Worse still, there are now signs that Britain has been putting pressure on developing countries to downgrade their own support for the summit. Diplomats at the UN have revealed that British government officials have been visiting developing country capitals in order to "persuade" them not to send high-ranking officials to the UN conference.
Such strong-arm tactics have been widely condemned.
Britain has made no secret of its opposition to the UN process, including the recommendation by the commission chaired by professor Joseph Stiglitz of a new global economic council under the UN's auspices to co-ordinate responses to the crisis.
This is all part of Brown's campaign to fight off calls for greater regulation of the City of London and to press for more liberalisation of the financial markets through a swift conclusion to the Doha round of world trade talks.
Rather than pandering to the interests of transnational capital, Brown would do better to heed the calls for economic justice.
The people of the developing world have done nothing to cause the global crisis, but they are suffering its worst effects.
The UN is the only forum which allows their voices to be heard. So it must serve as the forum for negotiations about our common economic future.
John Hilary is executive director of War on Want
19 June 2009, Latest news
The Compass conference was held in London on 13 June 2009 under the title 'No Turning Back'. John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, addressed the opening plenary alongside Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Caroline Lucas MEP and CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes.Add Comment
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